Archive for April, 2013

Diamond Hill – Cumberland

  • Diamond Hill
  • Diamond Hill Road, Cumberland, RI
  • Trailhead: 42° 0’9.32″N, 71°25’4.20″W
  • First Time Hiked: April 27, 2013
  • Last Time Hiked: August 19, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.7 miles
  • Moderate, uphill sections can be rather strenuous.

 

From the 1940’s until the early 1980’s, Diamond Hill was once known as Ski Valley. Over the years the skiing stopped and the property became a town park. The hill, with a summit of 481 feet above sea level, offers several miles of trails. Just recently trails have been blazed and navigation is much easier. There are some rather steep inclines to the top of the hill, but for this hike, the route chosen is likely the most gradual. The route also closely follows what is known as the Diamond Hill Park Trail on most GPS maps and Google Maps. Starting from the gravel parking area follow the paved road to the north of the bandstand area. Just beyond the cul-de-sac is a short section of roadway that dead ends to the right of a block building. This is where the yellow blazed trail begins. For this hike follow the yellow blazed trail up to the water tanks. Along the way, the Warner Trail joins and follows part of the yellow trail up to the summit. When you reach the water tanks there are a couple trails to your right that lead you to the summit. In months when there are no leaves and the skies are clear, you will be able to see the Boston skyline and Mount Wachusett. After checking out the summit return to the yellow blazed trail by the water tank. There is construction of a new water tank, so the yellow trail has been rerouted to follow along the west side of the old “Ski Valley” water tank. Shortly and to the right you will see green blazes. Follow them to begin your descent down the hill. The trails the remainder of the way can be quite rocky. Use caution. Continue to follow the green blazed trail after it crosses the red blazed trail. The green trail will end at the blue blazed trail where you want to turn left. The blue trail in turn ends at the (sporadically) white blazed Warner Trail. Stay to the right here and continue downhill. At the bottom of the hill there is a sharp hairpin turn to the right where the trail levels out. Along this stretch you will catch glimpses of the massive rock wall to your right and several small caves. Ahead on the left is the orange trail. You will want to follow the orange trail as it hugs the shoreline of Sylvys Brook. The orange blazed trail exits near the bottom of the former ski-slope. From here veer to your left and back to the parking area.

 

TWRI-DH1703

A Cave Along The Diamond Hill Trail

DHMap

Map of the Newly Blazed Trail System

 

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Hemlock Ledges – Exeter

  • Hemlock Ledges – Arcadia Wildlife Management Area
  • Ten Rod Road, Exeter, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°34’25.89″N, 71°47’7.91″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 26, 2013
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.5 miles
  • Moderate with strenuous parts and rocky footing.

 

Hemlock Ledges is somewhat challenging but well worth it. It is part of the longer Tippecansett Trail in the Arcadia Management Area. It starts at a small parking area on the south side of Ten Rod Road just before Beach Pond. I started the hike by following a yellow blazed trail that had a “Tippecansett” sign. This trail followed the edges of Beach Pond. At one point there is a large boulder that serves as a nice lookout of the pond. After lingering for a bit I continued to follow the yellow trail as it meandered up and down until it came to an intersection with three options; yellow to the right, white straight head, and a trail that was also blazed white to the left. The trail to the left had a large boulder that had the word “lookout” on it. I decided to check out the brief, but strenuous, trail to the lookout. Well worth it. After lingering for a bit to take in the sights and to catch my breath, I made my way back down to the intersection and turned left onto the white trail (marked as the Deep Pond Trail) and followed it for a while until the next split. The white trail went off to the left, but I decided to follow the blue blazed trail to the right. The blue trail followed a large ledge wall before it turned right across a seasonal stream (beware that the path seems to go left here… keep an eye out for the blazes across the stream). The blue trail from this point continued for a while over some rocky terrain before coming out to a dirt road. The dirt road is used as a trail and blazed yellow. At this point I turned left onto the road for a bit following the yellow trail back into the woods until I came to a survey marker (a stone bound just beyond a reference disc in a boulder) that marks the state boundary with Connecticut. I then turned around and retraced my steps back to the dirt road, turned left following the yellow blazes, passing the blue trail, and then turned right following the yellow blazes back into the woods. I followed this trail until it came back to the intersection with the white trail. There were some rather hilly sections in this part and some really nice spots to view the pond. At the intersection I turned left, again, following the yellow trail back to the parking area. I will be returning to the lookout during peak foliage season.

A trail map can be found at: Hemlock Ledges

View From Hemlock Ledges Overlook

View From Hemlock Ledges Overlook

Beach Pond

Beach Pond

Frenchtown Park – East Greenwich

  • Frenchtown Park/Laurel Wood/Fry Nature Preserve
  • Frenchtown Road, East Greenwich, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°37’35.85″N, 71°30’23.16″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 24, 2013
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3 miles
  • Easy with some slight elevation and rocky footing.

 

This hike actually covered three separate properties owned by the Town of East Greenwich and the East Greenwich Land Trust. The trail begins behind the East Greenwich Parks Department building at Frenchtown Park and immediately follows a dam along the edge of Mill Pond. Just after the bridge that crosses the spillway of the dam, a small trail heads off to the right. I followed this trail down to the brook. After taking a look at the spillways flowing water I then continued down this path where it came out to the ruins of  an old factory. At this point I wandered around checking out the area of the ruins before heading onto another path that took me back in the general direction toward, but not quite, to Mill Pond. This path was densely covered with vinca. I then made my way to the main yellow blazed trail known as the Cotton Mill Trail which headed into and through the Laurel Wood property. Parts of this trail were very rocky and there are some areas that are wet. The yellow trail ends at a stone wall at the Fry Preserve property and becomes the red trail. After a short distance into the Fry property the red trail splits. The red trail is a loop and it eventually makes its way back to this point. I opted to follow it to the right. A blue trail veered off to the right about halfway through the loop of the red. I did not venture onto this trail as it was not shown on the map at the beginning of the main trail. After completing the loop I followed the yellow trail back to Mill Pond and then back to the car.

I did not find a trail map online for this hike, however, there is a map at the main entrance. The loop trail on the Fry property is shown as blue on the map, however, it is blazed red. The red trails on the map are not blazed but very easy to navigate.

Vinca In Bloom

Vinca In Bloom

Blackstone Park & Boulevard – Providence

  • Blackstone Park & Boulevard
  • Blackstone Boulevard, Providence, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°50’1.49″N, 71°23’1.72″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 1, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 5 miles
  • Easy with some slight elevation.

 

The running path down the middle of the Blackstone Boulevard is the premier East Side of Providence walking, jogging, and running spot. I’ve walked here hundreds, if not thousands of times. It is exactly 1.6 miles long meandering through many species of trees and shrubs, making the path up and back 3.2 miles, a perfect 5K. There is also a dedicated bicycle lane in each direction of the boulevard. Today, however, I decided to add to the boulevard walk and include the adjacent and lesser known Blackstone Park. Most people start the boulevard walk at the north end. I find it easier to park at the south end near the intersection of Blackstone Boulevard and Irving Avenue. After I easily found a parking spot I started walking southerly on the boulevard toward Butler Avenue. Blackstone Boulevard becomes Butler just as it bends around the corner. I then took my first left onto East Orchard Avenue passing the campus of the Lincoln School and through a residential neighborhood. After following this street to the end I turned right onto the aptly named Parkside Road. Blackstone Park abuts this street. I then followed Parkside to its end crossing Angell Street into the first of two sections of the park that I explored. This is where the trails begin. I came to the first split and took the path to the right following it straight across other paths until I reached a split near its end. At this split I followed the path to the left which took me along the fence of the nearby highway. I continued following the path that ran along the top of the hill. The path then starts going downhill towards a pond and somewhat traces the edge of the pond. At the next split I turned left and followed the path back uphill to where I entered this section of the park at Angell Street. I then crossed Angell Street again and made my way to the path that started at the corner of Angell and Parkside into the second section of the park. I continued along this path for a while crossing several other paths until I came upon an interesting fence. Along the paths in this section I came across several people walking their friendly dogs. After mingling for a bit I found myself turning right and finding the set of stairs to go down toward a second pond. At the bottom of the stairs I turned right and came out to River Road. I followed it north onto a closed (to traffic) section of road that followed the shore of the Seekonk River. From here you can see the Omega Dam and train trestle in the Phillipsdale section of East Providence. There were also several geese, swans, and ducks here. This section of road then started to loop to the left and uphill. At the end I turned right onto Loring Avenue, again into a residential neighborhood. I then turned right on Grotto Avenue, and then left onto Laurel Avenue to Blackstone Boulevard. There were several yards with spring gardens in bloom throughout this neighborhood. I then turned right onto the running path that runs down the middle of the boulevard. I followed this to its end at Hope Street passing along the way a statue, a former trolley shelter, and the impressive stone walls of Swan Point Cemetery. At the end of the path to the left and across the street is another park. In the summer months on Saturday mornings there is a farmers market here. Also, at the end of the path and across Hope Street is an ice cream parlor. At this point I resisted my sudden urge for ice cream turned around and followed the running path to its south end to where my car was parked. In all, this walk was just under 5 miles. Again the boulevard itself is 3.2 miles.

A map of the the parks can be found here: Blackstone Park & Boulevard

Information about the park can be found here: Blackstone Parks Conservancy

Information about the farmers market can be found here: The Hope Street Farmers Market

Old Trolley Shelter On Blackstone Boulevard

Old Trolley Shelter On Blackstone Boulevard

Miller Bird Sanctuary – Rehoboth

 

A short and easy walk in a quiet neighborhood in Rehoboth. There is a small pull off on Lake Street just north of Winter Street where the trailhead is to park. I entered the sanctuary and immediately was greeted by a sign with a trail map. I opted to follow the red loop first which has a wooden bridge crossing a stream and wound through some heavily wooded areas. I came across another sign along this path that is quite interesting. It describes the type of footprints of various native animals. I then turned right onto the short white trail which looped back to the red trail where I turned right to finish the loop. After coming back and crossing the wooden bridge. I turned left and followed the blue trail to its end, turned around and came back. I then finished the hike making my way back to the car. I only saw a few ducks and chipmunks on this hike.

Wooden Bridge

Wooden Bridge

Ben Utter Trail/Stepstone Falls – Exeter/West Greenwich

  • Ben Utter Trail/River Trail – Arcadia Wildlife Management Area
  • Plain Road, Exeter, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°35’51.47″N, 71°44’48.16″W
  • First Time Hiked: April 17, 2013
  • Last Time Hiked: October 25, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.2 miles
  • Easy with some rock scaling and slight elevation.

 

The Falls River at Stepstone Falls is easily one of the most scenic locations in Rhode Island and it is the highlight of this hike. It starts in Exeter just south of the town line, but the majority of the hike is in West Greenwich. The hike starts at a small parking area just after the second river crossing bridge along Plain Road in Exeter (approximately 2.3 miles west of Frosty Hollow Road). The trailhead is marked with a sign for the trail. I followed the trail, blazed both yellow and blue at this point, along the west bank of the river that had several log waterfalls. (The blue blazes are for the North South Trail). The trail also crossed a few streams on small wooden bridges, then heads up a small hill with stone steps almost immediately going back downhill to the right down some more steps. In this area there are remains of an old gristmill. I continued following the trail until it came out to a dirt road. The trail then immediately went right back into the woods, still blazed both yellow and blue. I then followed the trail through an area of mountain laurel and past the ruins of yet another mill. The trail then starts to turn away from the river a bit and climbs slightly uphill. At the next intersection I opted to take the trail to the right, with a sign calling it off as River Trail, blazed blue and white, back to the water. (The path to the left, blazed yellow, I would use on the way back). The rocky white trail eventually made its way to a bridge that crossed the Falls River at the bottom of the Stepstone Falls. After crossing the river and reaching the east bank, I turned left and followed the path to its end at Falls River Road stopping occasionally to venture to the edge of the river to see the falls. I then crossed the bridge at the road to the west bank and saw the yellow and blue blazed trail marked by signs for both Ben Utter and Tippecansett trails, but first I did some off trail sightseeing of the falls. After about 10 or 15 minutes of relaxing and picture taking I continued along the yellow and blue blazed trail uphill toward an old pavillion. At this point the yellow and blue trails split. I followed the yellow trail downhill through a wooded area that was a haven for woodpeckers. This trail came back to the intersection of the white/blue trail from earlier. I then followed the path to the slight right (almost straight) back onto the path, both blue and yellow blazed, and retraced my steps back to the car.

The Ben Utter Trail is the trail from the center right of the map to Stepstone Falls as shown on: Ben Utter Trail

Stepstone Falls - April 2013

Stepstone Falls – April 2013

Stepstone Falls - October 2014

Stepstone Falls – October 2014

This trail was featured in Rhode Island Monthly Magazine – October 2014

Martin Wildlfe Refuge – Seekonk

  • Martin Wildlife Refuge
  • Fall River Avenue, Seekonk, MA
  • Trailhead: 41°49’3.10″N, 71°20’16.08″W
  • First Time Hiked: April 16, 2013
  • Last Time Hiked: August 25, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.7 miles
  • Easy.
 

Martin Wildlife Refuge is owned by the Seekonk Land Conservation Trust. There is a nice and short, but picturesque, loop trail here that skirts the shores of Burr Pond. The pond is part of the Runnins River that flows south into Hundred Acre Cove. The trail is well defined and there is a short crossover trail. A trail map can be found at the kiosk at the parking area.

Burr Pond

Burr Pond